The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is seeking to keep consumer names confidential in a case brought against it by internet service provider Exetel.
Exetel brought the case against the TIO after lengthy negotiations because it had concerns about the way the ombudsman had handled customer complaints against it.
In the past year, according to Exetel CEO John Linton, the TIO's handling of 80 per cent of complaints went against what was written in its constitution. Linton wants any charges incurred back, as well as interest on those charges and compensation for the time spent dealing with the issue.
Today, the legal counsel for the TIO, Mitchel More, said that she wanted to have the names of customers who had complained about Exetel kept confidential.
"Their identification isn't relevant," she said.
She said that the case could be run using the complaint numbers, rather than the names of the complainants.
Linton believed there was "no purpose" in keeping such details confidential.
Justice Buchanan said, however, that he wouldn't "make an order on a speculative or interim basis". He said that unless there was a breach of legal obligation not to disclose the names, he wouldn't make the order and added that More would need to present evidence to that effect.
More also requested additional time before asking for case details from Exetel to prepare the defence. The defence is now scheduled to be delivered on 4 March 2011, with discovery for the matter to wrap up by May.